On March 31, 2020, PA’s Department of Community and Economic Development updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) relating to Life-Sustaining Businesses. DCED did not update its list of life-sustaining businesses, only its FAQ guidance. The latest guidance can be found here – https://www.scribd.com/document/452553495/UPDATED-4-00pm-March-31-2020-Life-Sustaining-Business-FAQs.
Unfortunately, none of the revisions were beneficial for the homebuilding industry. DCED, however, did provide a small measure of clarity relating to the recent guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The DHS or CISA guidance listed most residential construction activities as an “essential” function. DCED’s new FAQ clearly state that Pennsylvania will NOT be following the federal guidance and the federal guidance “will not be applied when analyzing requests for exemptions.”
In other news applicable to homebuilding, the Department of Environmental Protection has established its own process for seeking suspension of regulatory requirements and permits in DEP’s sphere. The entire communication from DEP’s Policy Director follows. FYI, the “Form” below must be downloaded. It is not an online form.
We will keep providing updates as they come to our attention.
Dan Durden, CEO
Please see the new addition to the COVID-19 Alert page on the DEP website.
COVID-19-Emergency Request to Temporarily Suspend Regulatory Requirements and/or Permit Conditions
In accordance with Governor Wolf’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency of March 6, 2020 and the Governor’s powers pursuant to the Emergency Management Code, 35 Pa.C.S. §7301, the Governor has authority to suspend regulatory obligations and other legal obligations within his jurisdiction where strict compliance will prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the COVID-19 emergency.
To request a temporary suspension of regulatory requirements and/or permit conditions, fill out this form and submit to RA-EPCOVID19SuspReq@pa.gov.
*If you are requesting suspension of a Federal requirement, under only Federal authority, please contact US EPA Region III and refer to the US EPA March 26, 2020 Memorandum (COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program). To the extent the request relates to a federal program delegated to Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania will review requests submitted in this format.
Please note that suspension of any regulatory requirement will be determined on a case-by-case basis and must be related to coping with the COVID-19 emergency. DEP does not plan to offer blanket waivers of regulations at this time. If you have any questions, please direct them to the resource account listed above.
Jessica Shirley | Policy Director
Department of Environmental Protection
Rachel Carson State Office Building
400 Market Street | Harrisburg, PA 17101